Global salinity maps from SMOS (ESA/IFREMER)

The scientific relevance for measuring Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) is more and more recognized in the ocean community. SSS plays an important role in the dynamics of the thermohaline circulation, ENSO, and is the key tracer for the marine branch of the global hydrological cycle, which comprises about ¾ of the global precipitation and evaporation budget. Ocean surface salinity is of key importance for land-sea (river plumes), air-sea (ocean stratification, barrier layers, CO2 fluxes) and ice-sea interactions, marine biology, marine biogeochemistry and marine bio-optics. Sea surface salinity is also essential to understanding the ocean’s interior water masses, knowing that they derive their underlying temperature and salinity properties during their most recent surface interval.

In addition to the in situ observing network, both SMOS and Aquarius missions are providing sea surface salinity estimates at L-band but based on different technologies deployed in space. Results obtained so far demonstrate the strong scientific potential of the novel information provided by these new data sources.

The focus of this workshop will be:
  1. To review progress made in using Ocean Salinity data (SSS and subsurface);
  2. To identify scientific challenges and benefits of using satellite SSS data in the wider ocean community in synergy with other data sources (in situ, satellite, model); and thus
  3. To foster the use of the new SSS data from space in the wider ocean and climate science communities.

Salinity is expressed according to the Practical Salinity Scale defined as conductivity ratio: a seawater sample of Practical Salinity 35 has a conductivity ratio of 1.0 at 15°C and 1 atmosphere pressure, using a potassium chloride (KCl) standard solution containing a mass of 32.4356 grams of KCl per Kg of solution.  Thus SSS is ratio quantity and has no physical units.

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